SPOKANE -- Authorities announced Wednesday that the Spokane County Prosecutor’s Office has ruled that police were justified last November when they shot and killed a 29-year-old Spokane man.
Authorities say that police shot and killed Ethan Corporon after he fired a half dozen shotgun rounds into an occupied Spokane home and then refused to disarm as he fled from police in the high traffic area of Monroe and Indiana.
Chief Criminal Deputy Jack Driscoll concluded that Spokane police were justified in their use of deadly force because Corporon had fired six rounds from a shotgun and then refused repeated commands to drop his weapon. Officials say officers had legitimate concerns for their own safety and the safety of others.
The incident occurred on November 12, 2010, when Corporon drove his father’s pickup to a home in the 1400 block of West Buckeye around 3 p.m.
Witnesses heard and saw him fire at the back door of the home while yelling “come out of the house, I’m going to kill you.”
According to authorities, Corporon got back into the truck and was driving away when the first Spokane Police patrol car arrived to the scene. A witness had called 911 and given police the description of the truck.
Officials say an officer recognized the truck and followed it southbound on Monroe. He stopped his patrol car behind Corporon near the east side of the Shari’s Restaurant. The officer saw the suspect exit the truck with a shotgun and begin running toward the open eatery.
According to police, the officer feared Corporon would enter Shari’s and engage in hostage-taking. The officer fired a single shot at him. The shot missed, but Corporon changed directions and ran around the south side of the restaurant.
Investigators determined that in the next few minutes, 14 shots were fired from five different SPD officers’ duty pistols, and 12 shots from one officer’s AR-15 law enforcement carbine. Corporon was killed and a subsequent autopsy showed he had been hit twice.
According to police, numerous civilian witnesses reported hearing officers ordering Corporon to drop his weapon.
Because the incident involved the use of deadly force by police, the Critical Incident Protocol was invoked. The shooting was investigated jointly by detectives from the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office, Spokane Police Department and Washington State Patrol, with sheriff’s major crimes detective Tim Hines in the lead.
Officials confirm that detectives were able to determine one of Kyle Heuett’s AR-15 bullets struck Corporon, but were unable to determine which officer’s pistol round struck the suspect.
Investigators learned that Corporon had a history of mental illness, and that he had marijuana in his system the day of the shooting.